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Lack of efficient, up-to-date technology spurs medication errors

Medication may seem harmless. A little pill or liquid may look innocent, but when unnecessarily taken or when too much is taken these medicines can be deadly. For this reason, hospitals have been trying to limit the number of medication errors that occur in their institutions. However, they are far from remedying the problem. In fact, it is estimated one million medication errors occur each year, leading to 7,000 deaths.

Many contend that these errors can be attributed to human error. Poor handwriting, decimal mistakes, and fatigue can all contribute to an error in medication prescriptions. To attempt to alleviate this problem many hospitals are implementing technology called computerized physician order entry, which runs an entered prescription against a patient’s medical condition and allergies and alerts the physician as to safety and appropriateness of the medication. Such technology has lessened medication errors by up to 85 percent. However, the system is not flawless and it sometimes misses deadly prescription errors. Also, many hospitals have been slow to implement the technology.

Until these CPOE systems are fully implemented and operate flawlessly medication errors will continue. When a wrong medicine or a wrong dosage is given to an individual that patient may suffer serious side effects that include serious, debilitating injuries or death. People who find themselves in this situation may wish to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and the doctor who prescribed the medication in an attempt to recover their losses and to punish negligent behavior.

A Florida attorney with experience fighting against negligent medical professionals can help these individuals try to prove their case. A doctor or hospital’s negligence may be proven if the doctor erroneously transcribed the prescription, prescribed the wrong medicine or the wrong dosage, or an existing CPOE system failed to catch an erroneous prescription. If any of these acts or omissions can be satisfied, then the victim must prove the mistake led to her injuries. Once that is proven the patient may receive compensation for her economic and non-economic injuries.

Source: Forbes, “The Shocking Truth About Medication Errors,” Leah Binder, Sep. 3, 2013


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